The St. Louis Blues continue their mini-trek through Canada as they head to the capital today. The Blues take on the Senators before returning home.
After picking up a much needed, if somewhat fortunate win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the St. Louis Blues are trying to double-down during their time in Canada. Now, they head to Canada’s capital to take on the Ottawa Senators for the first time this season.
This will be an interesting game for a couple reasons. First, it will be interesting to see if the Blues can get off on the right foot toward changing some recent history.
The Blues have not won both games of this “series” since the year 2000. The Blues won the only game against Ottawa a couple times, when the schedule was unbalanced. However, it’s been a 1-1 split the last three years with Ottawa winning both games back in 2013-14.
St. Louis needs to keep up the momentum built from Toronto and pick up another win here. Surprisingly, history is on the team’s side in that aspect.
The Blues have not lost in Ottawa since 2013-14. Oddly, all those split series, the home teams have struggled. So, perhaps being on the road is beneficial to the Blues in this instance.
These are typically high scoring affairs as well, which can be entertaining but nerve racking. There have been an average of 6.5 goals scored between the two teams over the last four seasons.
Know Thy Enemy
Ottawa currently sits 12 points out of a playoff spot and are only eight points from being the worst team in the Eastern Conference. For whatever reason, things have just not gone well for the Senators this season.
This comes on the heels of finishing second in their division in 2016-17. How the mighty have fallen, it seems.
Ottawa struggles to keep goals out this season. Having allowed 149 to this point, only the Islanders, Buffalo and Arizona have allowed more this season.
Scoring is an issue as well. 117 goals is not cutting the mustard.
They are still not a team to be taken lightly. Like Toronto, the Senators are coming off their bye week, having last played against the Maple Leafs on January 10.
The Senators won that game 4-3. However, the Senators are 4-4-2 in their last 10, which the Leafs were as well and the Blues had a handful containing them.
St. Louis has improved to 5-4-1 over their last 10 games. They still sit in third place in the Central Division, however.
According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one of the main reasons Scottie Upshall was kept out of the last game was due to him taking too many penalties of late.
Projected lineup for today:
Ivan Barbashev – Paul Stastny – Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexander Steen – Brayden Schenn – Tage Thompson
Vladimir Sobotka – Patrik Berglund – Dmitrij Jaskin
Magnus Paajarvi – Kyle Brodziak – Chris Thorburn
Joel Edmundson – Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester – Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn – Robert Bortuzzo
The second line looks better this way. Still no Upshall though as Mike Yeo said Thorburn deserved another game.
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest
Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
The puck drops on tonight’s action around 6:30 Central Time. This is the final road game for the team in January. They’ll have four home games to finish out the month.
The Blues struggle when facing “inferior” opponents – no offense meant to Ottawa. They’ve been run over by the Panthers who feature a similar goals to goals allowed ratio, they needed OT to beat Buffalo and Vancouver and have been destroyed by Philadelphia.
So, simply because Ottawa’s record is not very good does not mean a Blues win. However, it was good to see some jump return to the team in Toronto.
If they carry that with them and clean up a few defensive mistakes, they should be able to take this one. A low scoring affair seems likely. Getting a Vladimir Tarasenko goal would be nice.
Blues win 2-1.